Traipsing down the laneway late last night in my rubber boots, on my way back from a moonlit horseback ride, I am laden down with: a huge butternut squash (a gift from Marie’s garden), a jug of lamp oil, and a fist full of candlesticks. I feel like Baby, in Dirty Dancing. I carried a watermelon.
I revive the fire in the stove with icy fingers (I should have worn gloves!) and I reflect on the things brought, the things left behind. I’ve done this dance many times, deciding what makes the cut, trying to see the future and know which items I will laugh about later, tossing aside unused, and which I will wish I had thought to bring. I remember once standing over my messy, open suitcase next to the bag check in some airport, crying into piles of clothes and trinkets, hastily trying to decide what to cast aside to lighten my rejected suitcase, to decide which memories could go in the trash, which items were irreplaceable, while the lineup behind me moved around my inconvenient pile, huffing their frustrations.
- Two fancy bars of soap, dressed with rose petals and poppy seeds, and a bag full of bath bombs
- a large rubbermade storage bin, for use as a bathtub
- not one but two pairs of overalls, one black and one yellow
- your old blue t-shirt, which no longer smells like you in the least
- a single feather earring, bought on the beach in Liguria, the mate existing somewhere else in the world with an old friend
- a ukulele I can an only kind of play
- A spare towel
- any sort of attractive footwear at all
- an extra pencil
- a can opener
I guess you can never do it right. But as Molly Beer pointed out in Yak Meditations: A Traveller’s Burden, “if we have everything we need when we begin, I reason, to what end is the journey?”